Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash
Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash
You’ve done (some) of the hard work: designing KPI(s) that will support you and your organisation in fulfilling its strategic goals. But that is only the starting point in improving performance. If you want KPIs to become the focus for improvement, you need everyone to know and understand the following:
- Understand why new KPIs are needed
- The thinking that went into the design of a KPI
- The goal(s) and the KPIs associated to it
When this happens, measures become one of the most critical management tools that organisations use to achieve their strategy.
This article shares the expertise and experience of our performance measurement consultants and how they support clients to fulfil the above mentioned 3 criteria.
Ensure understanding of the wider strategy
New KPIs typically require a degree of change to happen in an organisation. This change should be led from the top and start with clear, measurable strategic results before any KPIs are designed. As a performance measurement consultancy, we advise clients to achieve this in 3 steps:
- Translate the strategy into something results-orientated that has clear intent and which teams can buy into.
- Cascade the strategy from the top level down with results that are relevant to teams and individuals.
- Ruthlessly prioritise results to create focus and accountability in teams.
When these 3 criteria exist, people feel compelled to make a strategy a reality and hit the stipulated KPIs.
Whenever you cannot describe the vision, in five minutes or less and don’t get a reaction that signifies both understanding and interest, you are in for trouble.
Build understanding around new KPIs
Introducing new KPIs requires a change to the usual ways of working, both in focus and accountability. To manage this, the ‘case for change’ must be communicated well, and to do this our performance measurement consultants advise that you should build on the understanding of a strategy and address these critical questions:
- How do these KPIs relate back to the wider strategy?
- How will these KPIs benefit the organisation?
- How will these KPIs benefit individuals (at both an employee and customer level)?
- What will happen if these KPIs aren’t implemented?
- What performance gaps will these KPI’s close?
- How do these KPI’s evidence our progress towards our objectives?
When clarity and understanding exists around these points, the KPI transforms from a management tool used to ‘judge’, into a management tool that is used to achieve something important.
Ask for feedback and build a dialogue
As a performance measurement consultancy, so many of our clients say how they’ve sat through a meeting where new KPIs are presented to them, but after that communication around those KPIs dwindles.
The initial communication and ‘case for change’ when it comes to new KPIs does not ensure ongoing engagement. Communication must be sustained, otherwise dis-engagement quickly sets in and new KPIs flounder.
To overcome this, a dialogue must exist. Firstly, invite people to understand the new measures and the goals they evidence, but to also feedback and make suggestions. We get the best buy-in from collaboration, but it also offers an opportunity to improve the KPI’s too. In the PuMP performance measurement blueprint, this is referred to as a measures gallery – a team discussion that looks to improve KPI’s; a critical step in bringing your KPI’s to life.
The challenge is to then keep momentum, and you can do this in lots of ways;
- Keep an ongoing dialogue about the KPIs and reinforce their meaning
- Provide regular updates on performance and encourage a dialogue around this.
- Share and present progress to-date, key learnings and successes, to encourage future focus and momentum.
KPI’s do little without individual and team intervention, and intervention requires a clear understanding of the intent, time and buy-in. When we have this our KPI’s become a focal point for easier, faster and better informed decision making. To attain this, it is essential that clarity exists around aims, the thinking behind these aims is presented, and a robust launch and ongoing communication plan exists.